POINT HARBOR — A 14-year-old kayaker missing Friday in the Currituck Sound was found dead earlier today, in the vicinity of where the small craft had been located after his disappearance, Sheriff Susan Johnson said today.
The body of Justin Greene was discovered shortly after 8:20 a.m. by a Lower Currituck Fire Department boat team, close to the shore, near a pier and just north of the Wright Memorial Bridge, Johnson said. Johnson said she believes that Greene, who was not wearing a life jacket, drowned after the kayak capsized.
Last week’s incident marks the second time in approximately a year and a half that a person has died in connection with a boating accident in the waters of Currituck County.
On Jan. 13, 2013, the body of Ricky Ballance was recovered from Coinjock Bay. Ballance, 26, had been missing since going out in his canoe in the bay shortly before Christmas 2012.
Ballance had intended to go toward his duck blind to spread bait for ducks he had hoped to hunt later, but he was never again seen alive.
Johnson had said she had no theory about what exactly happened to Ballance, except say he fell out of the canoe. According to Johnson, Greene had been living in the New Beach area of Lower Currituck when he decided to use a friend’s kayak to go fishing. Greene and his family had only been in Currituck County for a few months after having lived in Hyde County, Johnson said.
Asked how long Greene may have been dead, Johnson said she and her fellow officials know that a group of young swimmers had seen him at nearly 11 a.m. Friday.
Greene did not appear to the youths to be in any kind of distress or in any kind of trouble, Johnson said. The youths left to go get lunch and did not return to the water, Johnson said.
Additionally, Johnson said a crab catcher working the area at approximately 11:15 a.m. pulled up a crab pot and discovered an attached fishing pole.
Coast Guard officials had said they received a call from Currituck emergency dispatchers shortly before 7:30 p.m. The Coast Guard officials said the kayak had been found with a cell phone and with fishing gear aboard.
The Coast Guard, after receiving the call, responded with a boat team from Station Oregon Inlet and also with a helicopter team from Air Station Elizabeth City.
The Coast Guard searched until approximately 10:45 p.m. before resuming a boat and an air search at sunrise Saturday. The Sheriff’s Office, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries also participated in the search.
Coast Guard officials had said that, by early Saturday afternoon, its teams had suspended its search for Greene after 10 hours and having covered 30 nautical miles.
An offshore search had been resumed this morning by local and state rescue teams. Johnson also said many residents participated in the search.